off to a good start in the game can be difficult. Even some Wiz veterans
have found themselves starting over with more than one party. But, if
you understand the tricks of character creation, learn the basic techniques
of combat, and develop your characters properly, you'll be well-equipped
to face the challenges ahead.
Before we start,
a word about patches. Sir-Tech has released several for the game, but
only one, the most recent, is available. This is the 12/23/01 patch. You
can get the patch from the official Wizardry site at: http://www.wizardry8.com.
Importance of Level
The Road To Arnika
One of the nastiest
surprises for Wiz players is what happened to switching classes. In previous
games, many moved characters from one profession to another, ending up
with a party of immense power. You can't do that anymore.
When a character
changes class, much of the old one is left behind forever, even when the
new class exceeds the old in level. For instance, a Fighter who switches
to Mage loses the ability to wear armor and wield most weapons, along
with the loss of special Fighter abilities such as "berserk."
Going the other way—Mage
to Fighter—isn't much better. The character can still cast spells, but
none of the spell skills can be incremented at level up time; they can
only be improved by use. No new spells can be learned, either.
Stats and level don't
change on a class switch, but there's a mean kicker involved. Suppose
your 3rd level Priest makes 4th level, and you move her to Fighter. Now
you have a 4th level Fighter, who functions as a first level character
in terms of class abilities. And you need as much experience for level
5 as you would if the character had begun as a Fighter.
class is not a good idea. If you want to do it, make your switches between
compatible classes. For instance, Mage/Samurai. Both learn wizardry spells,
so moving from one to another doesn't affect magic. Keep in mind that
switching doesn't provide you with any equipment. If you move, say, an
Alchemist to Ninja, you won't get any Ninja garb.
There is one instance,
though, where changing class can be good, and that is with the "three-step"
Bishop. While you can start a character right off as a Bishop, doing the
three-step may be more advantageous.
You begin the character
as a Priest. At level 2, you switch to Mage, and at level 3, switch to
Bishop. Advancement in the monastery (first dungeon) is quick, so the
process won't take long.
When you create the
Priest, put points only in the Divine discipline, and choose spells only
from the Divine school.
Why do it this way?
If you start with a Bishop, you get a 7 in all the major disciplines,
but no points in any of the individual skills.
However, when you
switch from Priest to Mage, you get 5 in Wizardry, plus 5 each in Fire,
Air, Water, and Mental skills, AND you keep all the points you already
have in the Divine areas, and can cast those Priest spells along with
whatever Mage spell you took.
Then when you move
up to Bishop, you get the Alchemy and Psionic disciplines at 5 each, though
no new points are added to any of the skills.
The two drawbacks
to the three-step are losing the professional bonuses for Priest and Mage
when you change class, and the fact that your Bishop will lag a bit in
obtaining the next set of spells at level up time. Essentially, this Bishop
is always two levels back. Where a regular Bishop would receive 3rd-level
spells at 5th level, the "three-step" Bishop will only be getting 2nd-level
If you decide to
create a Bishop this way, the best races are Elf and Faerie. They get
a good number of stat points, plus beginning as Priest gives them 55 vitality,
a great boost for races that start with terrible vitality anyway. Allocate
the stat points at creation so the character will qualify for Bishop at
So, before making
a switch, be sure you understand what you'll gain, and what you'll lose,
by changing class. And do save first, in case you change your mind.
As you'll soon learn—if
you don't know already—offensive spells are not the way to blow away foes.
The daMage rating of many are low, and even cast at max power rating,
won't be doing a lot of punishment—especially not when you're up against
enemies with hundreds of hitpoints.
While you certainly
want spells that can hurt your opponents, the secret to effective magic
use is incapacitation. Stop the enemy in his tracks, and life is much
For this, the spells
to have are Paralyze, Freeze Flesh, Freeze All, Web, Sleep, Silence, and
Insanity. Grab these as soon as they become available, and make use of
them at every opportunity.
Blinding Flash and
Terror are a special case. Monsters that are blinded or fearful will run
away. I know, if the critter can't see to attack, how can it see to retreat?
Well, we all know game designers cheat ;).
It is still good to
have those two up your sleeve when fighting against large groups, and
your other "hold em" spells aren't stopping enough of them. The enemies
will return when the effects wear off, preferably after you've dispatched
those who remained.
Very important protective
spells include Magic Screen, Soul Shield, Element Shield, Missile Shield,
and Armor Plate. Don't leave home without them! Armor Plate and Enchanted
Blade should be up all the time.
When choosing offensive
spells, always go for group damage first. Few foes come one-on-one; they
usually travel in bands, sometimes multiple bands. Your little Frost spell
won't be too helpful here.
Later in the game,
you do get some nifty spells that can pack a fair amount of damage at
high power levels. But until that wonderful moment, your magic is mostly
for stopping and weakening the enemy more than killing them outright.
Keep in mind that
spells offered at level gain are controlled by a combination of character
level and score in the controlling Discipline of Wizardry, Divinity, Alchemy,
or Psionics. The individual schools (Earth, Water, etc.) play only a small
part in this.
For hybrid classes,
add 4 to character level, because they start magic at level 5 (four levels
You'd think this would
be an easy matter, but there are some subtleties involved here. The starting
stats have an effect on the starting values of the character's skills.
For example, in doing
up a Gadgeteer, you'd want to have Int 60 and Senses 60 (or Int 55 and
Senses 65) to start with Ranged Combat 9. A Dex of 65 and Speed of 55
gives Modern Weapons 9. Those are the best starting values for this class.
You'll note that pairs
of stats are the consideration. That's the case most of the time, though
for Fighters, Senses 50 by itself yields Close/Ranged Combat of 5, and
a Dex of 65 starts weapon skills at 8.
creation, if you want to start with the best possible in each class, will
take some time. It isn't just a matter of how many points you get by race
and class. The starting values of the stats, and exactly how many points
you can put into them, become important.
You'll need to do
some tweaking. Allocate the points, check the skills, make some changes,
and check again. Do this for several races in that class to see which
produces the best overall results. Be sure to write down what you've done,
so you can see the effects of different stat values on the skills, and
which combinations are the ones you want.
Remember, after this,
all classes are equal. Everyone receives 6 stat points and 9 skill points
per level, with a max of three points allowed into any stat or skill.
Skills increase with use, but stats don't, so starting off right with
good stats is a big plus for your characters.
The best way to bring
your characters up is to specialize. Splitting points among many skills
is simply a waste. Everything should go into what the character does.
Auxiliary skills such as Artifacts really don't matter all that much in
Fighters should put
their points in Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Sword, and Bow. If you plan
on using two-weapon fighting, then include Dual Weapons. You may want
to put a few points into the weapon class of the offhand weapon to get
started there. Strength, Dex, Speed, and Senses are important combat stats,
so work on those. The best overall Fighter race is Dracon, followed by
Rogues should add
points to Lockpicking, Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Stealth, and Bow.
This class can also fight with dual weapons, and if one is a sword, the
Rogue can be an effective warrior. The truly larcenous can also put points
into Pickpocket, so as to steal from NPC merchants. Always save before
making the attempt. Note that, regardless of position, Rogues *always*
attack by back-stabbing in melee combat. Dexterity and Intelligence are
the most important stats. Hands down (or in your pocket ;)), Hobbits are
the best of breed for a Rogue.
These two classes
are easiest to bring along because they are very focused, and their concentration
narrow. The others aren't quite so easy.
The pure spellcasters
are Psionic, Alchemist, Mage, Priest, and Bishop. To get the best out
of them, especially early on, restrict your spell choices to only two
or maybe three schools at most.
Sit down with the
manual and look over pages 102-108. Decide on the spells you "must have",
and note the controlling school, such as Fire, Water, Divine, etc. Be
sure to look at the level 7 spells, which are usually the most desirable.
Make up your mind, and don't change it.
By plotting out your
spell choices ahead of time, you know exactly where to put those precious
points on level gain. All points should go into magic skills only. In
addition, by staying with only a few schools, you use those spells more
often, and thus gain in them faster, which is important. Remember that
frequent spellcasting improves not only the individual school (Water,
Earth, etc.), but also the controlling Discipline (Alchemy, Divinity,
Speaking of important,
one school all spellcasters should have is Air. This allows you to use
the lovely 5th level Portal spells (and yes, they do come as a pair, and
for only one spell pick—quite a bargain!).
The Bishop is a special
case, because this class learns spells from every discipline. My recommendation
here is to take Divine spells, then browse those other class lists for
what you want. Best results are obtained with no more than three other
schools. Keep in mind, even Bishops get only one spell pick per level,
so advancement won't be as quick as it is for other spellcasters.
Be sure to have enough
variety among your spellcasters so you cover all the categories of Earth,
Air, Fire, Water, Mental, and Divine. You'll come up against monsters
who have immunities or high resistance to some of those, so being able
to switch to other schools is necessary.
You don't have to
choose a spell at each level gain; you can roll the point over to next
level (or the one after, etc.). Doing this keeps points in reserve for
the time the character is high enough in level for the better spells.
Then you can take several at once.
Aside from that, you
can find or buy spellbooks to supplement what the character knows. So
bypassing spells on level gain doesn't mean you'll never have them. You
can end up with quite a few, just from the books.
Classes that can learn
Alchemy have a special bonus that isn't mentioned in the manual: the ability
to mix existing potions or powders to create new ones. Here is the list
of known mixes:
Acid Bomb: Stink
Bomb + Boom Bomb
Ice Bomb + Fire Bomb
Cure Disease: Heavy
Heal + Cure Light Condition
Cure Poison: Light
Heal + Poison Reduction
Light Heal + Bless
Heavy Heal: Light
Heal + Moderate Heal
Sneeze Powder + Flash Powder
Heal + Moderate Stamina
Renewal: Heavy Heal
+ Cure Disease
Heal + Heavy Stamina
Renewal + Magic Nectar
Desiccation Dust + Concussion Powder
Making potions is
simple. Pick up one ingredient on the cursor, click the "merge" icon,
then click the second ingredient. While you can do them in stacks (five
of one + five of the other), it's better to make them one at a time. Why?
Mixing potions increases
Alchemy. This is a great way to bring up the skill for Bishops, Rangers,
and Ninja. Make a few potions, exit to the main screen, then make a few
more. Keep the potions and powders for your own use, or sell them for
Just keep in mind
that beginners won't be able to mix high-level stuff, like canned elementals
or skeleton powder, early on. But even a few Heavy Heal and Cure Poison
potions can be helpful.
Intelligence is prime
for all but the Priest, who requires Piety. Intelligence and Piety are
necessary for the Bishop. Dexterity is important for all, and good speed
There are six hybrid
classes that combine fighting with magic: Valkyrie (Divine), Lord (Divine),
Ninja (Alchemist), Monk (Psionic), Ranger (Alchemist), and Samurai (Mage).
All begin learning spells at level 5. They don't progress as quickly as
the pure spellcasters, and require more work to increase their magic ability.
One reason is that
you have a tendency to fight rather than spellcast with these characters
most of the time. Another is trying to learn too much at once. Bringing
these classes up takes patience.
As with the pure casters,
plot out the spells you want, but restrict this to no more than two schools.
Always put a couple of points into the controlling Discipline on level
gain. Choose as your first spell something you can use often. Suggestions:
Splash, Itching Skin, or Sleep
Make Wounds, or Paralyze
Blast, Frost, or Sleep
Monk: Mind Stab
Then cast that spell
whenever you can. Resist the tendency to smack critters until you've gotten
off a spell or two first, unless the situation is really dire.
As for weapon skills,
those develop much the same as for Fighters. Work on only what the character
actually uses, for instance, swords for Lords (heh), polearms for Valkyries,
bow for both, etc.
The Ranger is an exception.
For this class, concentrate on ranged combat, bow, and scouting. Rangers
can use their bows in melee range, and eventually become devastating,
getting instant kills with their arrows. Build up the senses stat for
this class quickly to receive the Eagle Eye expert skill.
Intelligence is important
for all except Lords and Valkyries, who require good Piety for their Divine
spells. Speed and Dexterity are especially important for Monk, Ninja,
and Samurai, along with Strength and Senses.
One other thing about
Ninjas: they usually don't wear any armor aside from their Ninja garb,
plus maybe a cloak, some jewelry, etc., for extra protection. Don't worry
about that; Ninja armor class goes up automatically as new levels are
Arnika is a great
place for everyone, pure and hybrid, to practice. Get those bandits or
troopers webbed or insane, then cast your spells over and over. When out
of juice, run to He'li's, rest up, then go do it all again, and again.
The two "odd" classes
are the Gadgeteer and the Bard. They have one thing in common: they simulate
magic spells by using devices. Bards have a wide variety of instruments
for their magic, but aside from the starting lute, all have to be found
The big drawback with
Bards is that each instrument does only one spell effect. Before long,
the poor Bard is staggering under a backpack full of lutes, lyres, horns,
drums, and who knows what. This is necessary, because only a carried instrument
can be played upon.
You have to choose
with care which instruments the Bard has available. When you have to pick
from among Hex, Pandemonium, Nuclear Blast, Heal All, Insanity, Silence,
Freeze All, Armor Melt, and the like, it isn't always easy to decide.
On the other hand,
since Bards don't do natural magic, bringing them up is somewhat easier.
You just put max points into music each level, then work on their fighting
skills, or fighting and lockpicking if no one else has that chore.
Another plus with
the Bard is that stamina is used for playing, and that comes back much
faster than spellpoints do. After a big fight, spellcasters may be close
to "empty" on magic power, while a minute's rest is all a Bard needs to
be at full.
Be sure to bring up
Intelligence and Dexterity on level gains. Both are important for accurate
(i.e., no fizzle/backfire) playing. Get these as high as you can at the
start, and work on them over time.
The Gadgeteer is the
new class, the "modern warrior", so to speak. They arrive with the Omnigun,
which initially shoots bullet stones (so be sure to equip those stones
right off!). As the Gadgeteer goes up in level, the Omnigun improves in
ability, eventually able to fire arrows and quarrels, as well as doing
multiple shots per round.
Like the Ranger, Gadgeteers
can use their Omnis in melee combat, so always have that as the primary
weapon. You may want to have something else, say a sword, equipped as
the alternate, in case you run out of ammo.
What makes the Gadgeteer
really interesting is the ability to merge two weird "gadgets" and create
a device that casts a particular spell effect. This is a matter of trial
and error; there are no directions in the game on which items make what
devices. However, if they don't fit, nothing happens, and you don't lose
the items. So feel free to experiment.
Like the Bard's instruments,
the Gadgeteer's gadgets only do one effect each, and only a Gadgeteer
can use them. So, eventually, you'll have to do some picking and choosing
on what is carried in the backpack.
Gadgeteers can create
one item that other classes can use: multi-shot crossbows. With Engineering
35, a Gadgeteer can merge two light crossbows to make a double shot. With
Engineering 75, one light crossbow can be merged with the double shot
to make a triple shot crossbow.
Sorry, this can't
be done with heavy crossbows, short bows, or long bows. And, for some
odd reason, two slings can't be merged to make a double shot sling. This
only works for light crossbows.
Bringing up a Gadgeteer
is easy. All points should go into ranged combat, modern weapons, and
engineering. Add in Lockpicking if this is the only character you have
with the skill. Early in the monastery, you'll find a lightning rod. Have
your Gadgeteer use this often, as it brings up the engineering skill.
It never runs out of juice, and thus is a great alternate when you're
running low on ammo. The rod only needs to be in the character's backpack
to be used. It does, however, drain stamina with each use, so keep an
eye on that.
The best race for
Gadgeteer is the Hobbit, with stats of: 50/60/30/50/65/55/60. This will
start you off with 9's in all four skills. On level gains, add to anything
except Piety, concentrating on Intelligence, Dexterity, and Senses.
For all classes and
skills, there will come a time when you can no longer add points. The
magic number is 75. Once a skill reaches that height, it can be improved
only by usage.
Note that this is
the raw value of the skill, exclusive of professional bonus. For example,
I have an Alchemist whose Alchemy is 60, but it shows on the sheet as
75 because of the 25% profession bonus. When he makes his next level,
I can still add points because the real value is 60, not 75.
For stats, the magic
number is 100, and that really is magic. This is how you obtain those
exotic skills such as Eagle Eye and Power Strike. No one teaches them
to you; they come when a stat is maxed out, as follows:
Strength - Power
Intelligence - Power
Piety - Iron Will
Vitality - Iron
Dexterity - Reflextion
Speed - Snakespeed
Senses - Eagle
Once you have an expert
skill, you can increase it on level gain just like any other, and just
like any other, it goes up with use.
This is another reason
to have good starting stats. A Fighter beginning with strength 75, and
putting in 3 points each level, can achieve Power Strike at level 10.
Importance of Level
Good skills and stats
go a long way to making a competent character, but character level is
also an important factor. This is especially the case when it comes to
critical hits, or insta-kills.
Many players add a
Ninja, Monk, Samurai, or Ranger to the party because these classes have
the ability to kill in one shot. Then they become disappointed because
the character isn't doing a lot of those hits.
My own experiments
in this area show that high skills/stats aren't enough for critical hits.
I've started a number of these classes, with very high values in the necessary
areas, and seen that insta-kills are few and far between.
For example, the Ninja
with 85 in close combat, ranged combat, dual weapons, and martial arts,
plus 80/100 in critical hit, along with 99 in speed, dexterity, and senses.
At level 2, she had the expert skills of Eagle Eye, Reflextion, and Snake
Speed. Was she good?
Yes and no. Of course,
she hardly ever missed, and just about any critter in the lower monastery
went down with one shot from fist or foot. But insta-kills were another
matter. Despite having the most kills (not surprising), the Ninja had
managed only two crits by the time we headed out to Arnika, one in melee
and one thrown.
It was pretty much
that way for a long time: insta-kills were few and far between. Not until
around level 10 did the frequency increase in any noticeable way.
That held true for
the other classes, as well. Ranger, Monk, Samurai--none of them had the
frequency of critical hits you'd expect from superior scores. So what
does that mean?
If you take one or
more of these classes for their ability to kill instantly, be prepared
to wait. Build them up in the proper areas, be patient, and eventually
you'll be rewarded with those "one hit, one kill" shots.
Almost any mix of
classes can see you through the monastery. Opponents are low-level, and
easy to kill, with a few exceptions. After that, difficulty rises by a
large factor. This is when players start roaming the net, looking for
the "best party".
The best party is
the one that works for *you*. So what follows are suggestions only. Pick,
choose, experiment. Keep in mind, though, that whatever you have, proper
development, along with good tactics, is what really brings success.
Two pure spellcasters,
from different Disciplines, I do consider the minimum. My first party
was heavy on muscle: Fighter, Samurai, Ninja, Ranger, Gadgeteer, and Bishop.
This party I abandoned early. The Bishop was too overworked, and really
couldn't handle all the magic chores. It would be a long haul before the
others were effective with magic, and I just didn't feel like struggling
The second team was
Fighter, Samurai, Ranger, Priest, Mage, and Bard. This was much better.
Three right off who could do spells, and the difference was evident from
the start. Combat was a lot easier, and I did love that Bard with her
Team three was Fighter,
Monk, Ninja, Bishop (3-step), Psionic, and Alchemist. This group was even
better, thanks mostly to the back line spellcasters (plus by now I'd learned
how to develop them properly ;).
Team four was the
same crew, except I switched Rogue for Ninja (I just had to try out that
shopstealing/pickpocket stuff!). Not surprisingly, this is the best so
far. Picking up stuff "for free" doesn't hurt, either. Heh.
Basically, then, what
you want to start with is two good Fighters up front, two good spellcasters
in the rear, then fill in the remaining spots with whatever suits your
style. Someone from the Ninja/Rogue/Gadgeteer/Bard quartet for detrapping
& lockpicking is good to have.
If you take only two
pure spellcasters, I suggest going slow. Spend extra time in Arnika looking
for targets, also along the Arnika-Monastery road, to build up the magic
power of the hybrid classes. Preparation early will save you a lot of
grief later on.
As you wander the
world, you'll come across a number of NPC characters you can take into
the party. Once joined, they are just like your own characters: you have
total control over them, can direct them in combat like your own people,
distribute their points at level gain time, etc. There's only one drawback
to these recruits: sooner or later, they will leave the party.
There are certain
areas of the world they just won't enter. Myles, for example, refuses
to go to Marten's Bluff or the Mines (among others). Vi Domina won't go
to Bayjin or the Sea Caves.
You can force them
in by trickery. Enter the "forbidden" area, set a portal, pick up the
NPC again, then teleport in. Unfortunately, this doesn't do much for you.
The NPC's stats and abilities are diminished, as though hexed. And they
whine, nag, and complain the entire time you're in the hated location.
So, they'll pick up experience, but they won't function very well until
you leave, after which they're back to normal.
It isn't mandatory
to take on any of these recruits, though it certainly can be helpful sometimes.
The problem is, you get used to them being there, and come to depend on
that. Then, suddenly, they're gone, and you're back to just your happy
band of six again.
I usually take on
Myles to rescue Vi, then drop him. Vi I keep until we've made the trip
to the Monastery for the wheel door and returned to Arnika, when I leave
her at He'li's place.
Also, there are a
couple of instances where you have to take on someone for quest purposes.
For instance, if you ally with the Umpani, one task requires having a
certain Umpani in the group. Much later, if you're working on the T'Rang/Umpani
alliance (ooo, spoiler!), you'll need two open slots.
And then there's the
"Where are they?" problem if you want someone back in the group. Vi and
Myles return to Arnika (He'Li's and the fountain, respectively); RFS-81
stays wherever you leave him. Most others go back to where you first met
them, though there have been reports that certain NPCs were dismissed
and never seen again. So you may want to return to whatever location the
NPC calls home before dismissal, just to be safe.
The overall best recruit
is RFS-81, the Savant Trooper found at the start of the Mines area. He
is a non-magic Monk (no spells), level 10 when you pick him up. His skills
and stats are quite good, except ranged combat, which is terrible and
requires some building up. He will go with you everywhere, except the
Rapax Away Camp. RFS is the only one I take into the party these days.
So recruit or not
as you see fit. Extra hands can be a great help, but they won't be around
all the time.
Even without extras
in the party, you often have help in fighting monsters from the local
patrols. In Arnika, this is the HLL. They routinely troop through the
streets, and any nearby when fighting starts will join in. The temple
brothers will do likewise.
You have no control
over them, of course. However, since they're allies, they are affected
by any spells you cast on the party, such as Armorplate, Enchanted Blade,
Magic Screen, etc. You can also cast healing and curative spells on them
to keep them going.
Offensive magic, such
as fireballs, toxic clouds, etc., will *not* hurt them, so go ahead and
use those spells. BUT...watch out for ranged attacks. If allies are between
you and the monsters, shooting arrows or hurling rocks is a bad idea.
You can easily hit an ally with "friendly fire". Either stay with spells
or move up for hand-to-hand, if there's room.
Also, you don't lose
by this help. The party receives experience for every dead opponent, whether
killed by your team or by the patrol. So you don't have to break your
neck to get involved ;).
Note: hitting an ally
by mistake will not turn them hostile. It's still better, though, not
to hit them at all.
Monsters have a tremendous
advantage. They can move as units, while your party can only move as a
group. This is a limitation of the 3D view, and it can hurt you a lot.
In no time at all, your merry band could be surrounded by hostiles and
reduced to shreds.
So the first rule
of fighting is: never fight in the open if you can help it. The best positions
are in doorways, halls, or corridors, where enemies are forced to come
at you head-on, and no more than two at time are in front.
In the outdoors, try
to back into a crevice, which at least prevents opponents from getting
behind you. If there's no crevice, then back into the side of the hill
or whatever (trees are not a good idea).
Indoors, ducking around
a corner can be a handy way of forcing critters to come in small doses
if you're in a wide hallway or no door is nearby.
Of course, that's
useful mainly when you're facing opponents who only do melee combat. Many
have ranged attacks of some kind: Brigands hurl knives, Slimes spit goo,
Mages have spells, etc. With time and experience, you'll learn which ones
are dangerous at a distance, and which aren't.
When hostilities begin,
the first order of business is to check what protections you may need;
not all protective spells can be cast outside of combat. For Brigands
and similar, Missile Shield should be at the ready.
When facing Mages,
or creatures capable of spell-like attacks, such as vines, Element Shield
and Magic Screen are what you want, and possibly Soul Shield as well.
Then look over your
arsenal of disabling spells. For enemies at distance, I like Insanity.
Those affected stand and do nothing much, or, even better, run amok and
start attacking each other.
For closer opponents,
Freeze Flesh or Web is good. Paralyze can be handy against an individual
enemy who's giving you trouble.
Against multiple groups,
the Sleep spell can be surprisingly effective, at least early on. A couple
of those can knock out much of the opposition for a while.
Generally, the more
hitpoints an enemy has, the more dangerous it is. Use your best disabling
magic against them, at the highest power level you can manage.
The big problem is
initiative. It is often the case that weapon attacks go off before spells.
In the meantime, the enemy is attacking (or moving in), and then finally
your spellcasters get their chance. So in each fight, you'll have to decide
whether it's more important to get off protection spells or disabling
spells in the first round. Of course, if you have enough spellcasters,
you may be able to do both.
Once a group has been
neutralized, you can move into melee range. Up close fighting does more
daMage than ranged weapons, allowing you to kill the enemies faster, especially
if you let loose a couple of good daMage spells.
If you're up against
some really troublesome groups, try Blinding Flash or Terror to get rid
of some of them for awhile.
These are the basic
tactics that work well at the start of the game. As you come up against
more potent foes, you'll modify them to suit the circumstances and your
Here's an example
of a recent encounter on the way back to Arnika after we'd opened the
wheel door in the monastery.
The team ran into
a big horde of critters: two groups of Brigands, six unknown plants, and
one caustic vine. Altogether, about fifteen or sixteen opponents. We already
had Armorplate and Enchanted Blade up.
First round, the Psionic
casts Insanity at the larger group of bandits, while the Monk does similar
at the smaller one. Bishop puts up a missile shield. The plants are still
way back, so everyone else uses missile weapons for now.
The spells go off,
getting most of the large group, and all three of the smaller one (pretty
good for power level 1!). So the majority of bad guys stand around frothing
or attacking each other and the plants. One starts running away. Two approach
the group. The plants move closer.
Next round, the front
line beats on the closer Brigand. The Bishop stops the caustic vine with
paralyze. The first wave of offensive spells goes off from the Psionic
(psionic fire) and Alchemist (whipping rocks). The nuts are still beating
on each other.
Third round, the second
wave of spells goes off (same as before), and the acid vines are pretty
much history. So is the Brigand in front of the group, and the other doesn't
last long, nor does the caustic vine (which took daMage from both spell
waves), after some good missile fire (everyone, by the way, is using spike
stones, barbed arrows, or hunter quarrels).
Then it's only a matter
of mopping up the remainder, mostly just missile fire, with a Sleep spell
thrown in as Insanity wore off. I was conserving magic juice, because
fights on this road usually come one after another (as turned out to be
A couple of party
members took some daMage from the two Brigands who actually came up to
us, but the injury was minor, and two or three were affected in a minor
way from the acidvines (the six unknown plants), and that wore off quickly.
In this fight, most
of the attacking was done at distance, a good thing with such a large
number of opponents. Had the Brigands managed to get up close and surround
us, the result wouldn't have been pretty.
However, this combat
does illustrate the great importance of those disabling spells. Most of
the Brigands and the caustic vine were out of action at the start, and
the weaker opponents were quickly dispatched by spells. And enough of
the Brigands were also hit by the spells so that killing them at distance
Road To Arnika
Consider this the
acid test for your party. If you can't make it, or have a lot of trouble,
then either (a) you have the wrong party composition, or (b) you didn't
develop your characters properly in the monastery, or (c) you're having
really bad luck with monster generation.
Make no mistake, this
is a tough road. It begins as a dirt path between towering cliffs, with
nowhere to hide. Then it opens onto countryside, with grassy banks on
The first thing to
do is save before leaving the monastery. Occasionally, high-level (for
this part of the game) monsters might be generated when you cross the
boundary to the outdoors. Should this happen, quit the game, rerun it,
and try leaving again.
My teams usually run
into a few venom crabs shortly after exiting. A web or sleep spell and
melee combat generally takes them out quickly.
The most frequent
opponents along the cliff road are Brigands of various types. The "freeze
and frag" tactics described in the Combat section are usually enough to
deal with them, and with the bunch at the end of the south path (where
the treasure chest is; do go there if you have a Bard for a nice instrument).
Real trouble usually
begins when you reach the green area. NEVER travel on the road itself,
wherever you are. Always go on the side, as close to the cliff walls as
Keep a close eye on
your radar screen. Often, monsters will appear there first, as red dots.
Sometimes, you can get around them without being seen, if there's enough
room where you are, and you're careful about movement.
stretch doesn't offer much cover. Even staying close to the sides won't
help a lot. So, as you walk along—slowly—watch for crevices you can use
when fighting starts. Retreat there if you need to.
As soon as all enemies
have been defeated, save the game without moving. It's often the case
that another bunch isn't far off. A few steps could take you into a fight
you don't need, especially if you're low on spell power or need a lot
Just where the green
begins is an Umpani teleport house. There's no way in from outside. However,
I've heard that, if you camp behind it for three full cycles (24 hours),
monsters in the vicinity will move off and new ones generate. I haven't
tried this myself, but if you're up against something you just can't defeat,
give it a try. As a last resort, you can also go back to your save before
leaving the monastery, and hope for less nasty monsters the second (third?)
time around. Good luck!